Taking a Well-Deserved Break

doggievacayThis is the last week of Jean and my hiatus. Everyone needs time off. Jean is spending part of hers with family. I spent part of mine taking photos at the Outer Banks with one of my besties. This has been a nice breather and I think everyone should have a few every year. It doesn’t have to be an all-out spend two weeks, take a flight, stay in a hotel, see the sights vacation, but it should be both relaxing and enjoyable.

As Americans, and if you aren’t American, keep reading to learn a little of our culture, we whole-heartedly believe in the Puritan Work Ethic. We work 40 hours and it is a badge of honor to work 50, 60 or 70 in a lot of professions. We take our work home with us. Cell phones mean we don’t have to ever really leave work.

Consider this study from Ranstad (an employment agency):

  • 42% of employees reported feeling obligated to check their email during vacation.
  • While 26% feel guilty even using all of their vacation time.

The results of all of this work aren’t what a workaholic would expect. People often don’t return from vacation refreshed and ready to take on work, they are tired and still subject to burnout. It doesn’t even have to be a vacation. A co-worker took a day off and you would have thought all hell had broken loose! She was not on email! Gasp! The world was crumbling! Even though it was a Friday in July and a lot of decisionmakers were off; it came across as “What nerve does she have not to be able to be reached on her day off?” This, friends, is the problem.

timeoutTake your time off and don’t feel guilty. It is your time. You’ve earned it. So use it! And dare I say, use as much of it as you can. Not only do you deserve it, but you need it. Rest. Rejuvenate. Recharge. And do it in whatever way works for you.

For me, “going home”, is never a vacay. It is hectic as I visit relatives and friends, the entire time I am there. Staying with family only makes it worse. Of course, staying at a hotel often makes relatives feel slighted. Plus, I end up driving and it is a long drive.

I’ve started coming back a day or two early and decompressing by doing some things that I find relaxing. I might get a mani-pedi, a massage and a facial. Plus, I’ll see a movie or two and eat at some great restaurants.

A lot of people feel that it doesn’t make sense to take time off if that time is spent at home. But a staycation can be a great option if it is done right. How is it done right?

  • Go grocery shopping and get housework (laundry, vacuuming, …) done before the staycation starts.
  • Turn ringers off. Set up a short time to check your cell phone throughout the day.
  • Be a tourist in your own city. Take a couple of day trips. See the sights you’ve been putting off.
  • Whatever you love to do, do it!
  • Do not check emails or otherwise work while you are off!
  • Block time for yourself on the day you return to work to respond to emails and get caught up.
  • Sleep in, stay up late, eat out, shop, pamper, laugh and enjoy yourself!

Time off is a gift you give yourself. So use it!

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